Rich Hill was apparently the odd man out as far as the Boston Red Sox were concerned. He was granted Free Agency, by the Sox, on November 2 and had a number of teams bidding for him before accepting an offer of $6. million for one year from the Oakland Athletics. Rumor has it that there was at least one team offering him more money but that Oakland Vice President for Baseball Operations Billy Beane may have guaranteed Hill a spot in the A’s rotation which tipped the scales in Oakland’s favor.
The Sox had four potential left handed starters on their roster including Wade Miley, Eduardo Rodriguez, Henry Owens and Hill with Rick Porcello, Joe Kelly and Clay Buchholz for right handers. Fenway Park, with its Green Monster, sitting right behind third base, is no place for a staff full of left handers. Therefore, Hill was expendable.
Hill won two and lost one in four starts for the Sox after being signed by the Sox on August 14 last year. He was extremely effective and had a two hit complete game shutout against the Orioles on September 25 and compiled a 1.55 ERA in 29 innings with 36 strikeouts.
Hill, 35, has been in and out of the Majors since 2005 when he debuted with the Cubs. He has won 26 and lost 23 with a 4.54 ERA performing for the Cubs, Angels, Indians, Yankees, Orioles and Red Sox. In his two stints with the Sox he won four and lost one and had a 1.34 ERA in 44 games. Until this year, he had only been used in relief by the Sox.
His best year as a starter was 2007 when he won 11 and lost 8 for the Cubs in 32 starts with a 3.92 ERA and 183 strikeouts in 195 innings. He has had a total of 74 starts in 201 games.
Although Hill became a favorite with Red Sox Nation with his performance at the end of the season there just did not appear to be room for him in the starting rotation next year, particularly with the Sox shopping for an Ace at this point. At the same time, Oakland needs help with their starting rotation and Rich Hill may be a big part of the solution to that problem.